Friday, June 28, 2013

LED lighting by trial and error

We seem to be getting to the tipping point with LED lights, where they have become sufficiently performant and low-enough in price to be worth installing. Now, you usually can't find anything brighter than the average glow-worm (nothing above 4w that I can remember) on the shelves in bricks'n'mortar lighting departments be it at the sophisticated end with John Lewis or the general DIY of Homebase, but online at the reduced prices available through the usual aggregator, you can find some decent kit, and I've tried a range of models, finally turfing out the remaining few incandescents outside the 60w candle bulb in the bedside sunrise alarm, and the ones in various appliances.

Now despite the equivalent wattage ratings printed on the packs of compact fluorescent twisty bulbs, I've usually found the rough equivalence there of 11w ⇒ 60w incandescent and 20w ⇒ 100w incandescent; and have in most cases been pleasantly surprised by the LED lights outperforming the CFLs watt for watt.

So here are what I've tried (in some cases using an E27 to B22 adapter):

  • 10 Watt, B22 Bayonet, Daylight White — brighter than an 11w CFL, somewhat directional beam, and rather blue for normal indoor use. I've replaced 100w incandescents in bulkhead lights in greenhouse, attic and garage with this model, for which it is a more than adequate replacement, and where the clean colour is preferable.
  • 10 Watt, B22 Bayonet, Warm White — similar to the above, but a better colour for normal indoor use. Suitable for traditional pendant fittings with a diffusing shade (I still use the paper globes like it was the 1970s), and somewhere between an 11w and 20w CFL in perceived brightness.
  • 6 Watt R63 reflector spotlight, E27 screw, Warm White — brighter than the 60w incandescents they replaced. A definite win.
  • 5 Watt Corn Style, E27 screw, Warm White — called 80w equivalent, and, despite its deceptively small size, certainly a match for the 60w incandescent it replaced in the downstairs loo in a ceiling fitting where it's horizontally mounted in a diffuser dome with a reflective plate above.
  • 10 Watt Corn Style, E27 screw, Warm White — adequate replacement for a similarly small-size 11w CFL in a wall light, horizontally mounted in a diffuser dome. I expect that they would work equally well vertically mounted in a simple diffuser as a bedside light, where the mainly-sideways illumination is at the right height for use.
  • 12 Watt Corn Style, E27 screw, Pure White — a clean white light (not as blue as the daylight white above), which is working well in the grey, blue and white bathroom (ceiling mount as above). Not so good mounted vertically as a pendant light, because it shines mostly sideways, leaving the floor underneath darker by comparison than the walls, so the subjective experience is poor there (but it is likely this could be mitigated by using a different shade or fitting).

Some other subjective considerations may apply -- I like the instant-on, though I do know people who find the slow ignition of a CFL useful for a bathroom light when staggering out of bed in the middle of the night and would find the immediate bright white a painful experience. For me, OTOH, between street-lights and the charge indicator for the ceiling hoist immediately above the loo, I find I already have enough illumination for nocturnal micturitions without reaching for the pull-cord; and hate the dingy interval when starting to shower or run a bath.

As we have a stock of CFLs to use, I've not completely replaced those -- as CFLs don't take so well in cases where a light need only be on for a short while as LEDs do, I have put LEDs in non-core-use rooms, and left CFLs in places where they will be in use from dusk to bedtime, or bedtime to settling down time.

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